Manager as Coach or Mentor?
The question often arises in managing a business unit as to whether a manager can be the mentor and what works best. there is no absolute right or wrong here. There are some best practices. The manager is more likely to be a situation coach. An employee is taking on a new assignment and the manager provides some direction or skill coaching. Where an employee makes a mistake on a delegated work project or under-performs a bit, the manager may elect to provide more coaching. So, isn’t this mentoring? Well…not really.
Mentoring is more like a “big brother or big sister” relationship than a “boss-employee” relationship. The employee will generally be more forthcoming and open with a true mentor who is not the boss. The mentor can guide and advise the person and the person being mentored may feel more trustful of sharing concerns. If an employee has a work related problem or feels they need help in a given area, they may just be less open to sharing with the boss than with a true mentor. the openness that can be developed with a non-boss mentor will allow a freer exchange of issues and concerns. The mentor can find ways to communicate things back to the boss without violating any trust with the employee. To learn more visit the Articles Tab.